Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


President to Announce Supreme Court Nominee Tonight

President Trump spent last week interviewing eight potential nominees to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Latest reports indicate that the President has narrowed his list to three candidates.

Brett Kavanaugh, 53, is a District of Columbia Court of Appeals judge. He previously served as the staff secretary for former President George W. Bush. Due to his position on a federal appeals court in Washington, DC, Kavanaugh has a significant amount of experience dealing with cases involving the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some conservatives have expressed concerns with an opinion written by Kavanaugh favorable to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate. Amy Coney Barrett, 46, is a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judge, and is favored among social conservatives. She is a practicing Roman Catholic who clerked for Justice Scalia and faced significant opposition from Democrats in the Senate during her appellate court confirmation fight last year. Given her short time on the bench, Barrett has not authored any health care opinions yet. Raymond Kethledge, 51, is a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals judge. Kethledge is a Bush appointee who clerked for Justice Kennedy. He has considered a number of health care cases involving Medicare reimbursement challenges as well as health system/insurer antitrust suits.

Senate Democrats have promised a confirmation fight to block the nomination until after the November midterms. Republicans hold 51 seats in the Senate and will need at least 50 votes to confirm the President’s nomination. It’s unclear if Republican John McCain (Az.) will be able to return to the Senate for the vote, and Republican Rand Paul (Ky.) has reportedly told the President that he has reservations about Brett Kavanaugh. The official announcement is planned for Monday at 9 p.m. The process to replace Justice Kennedy is expected to consume the Senate’s agenda between now and the midterm elections. At the same time, Congress must work to pass legislation to fund the government beyond September 30, the end of the fiscal year.

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